Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Character Interviews: Maggie Child and Lavonia Dawes from Zombie Uprising Voodoo Child Book One

Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood? I'm originally from Central New York State around the Hudson Valley. I guess for some kids my childhood would have been paradise. My mom was so obsessed with metaphysical new age mumbo jumbo that I wasn’t given any structure or guidance. She would just say stuff like, “The universe will guide you,” even though I was getting suspended from school for punching out a boy. I spent most of my early teens getting into trouble, and was probably headed for jail. Fortunately my uncle was an army helicopter pilot and he conned some of his civilian cronies into giving me free lessons in return for doing Cinderella work in the world’s filthiest airplane hanger… actually it was more like a converted barn. The minute I got in the air I knew that was what I wanted in life. So I buckled down, memorized every flight manual I could get my hands on and earned my private pilot’s license at seventeen; only because that’s the youngest legal age allowed. When the army said they’d train me to fly a helicopter right out of high school I never looked back.

Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you'd rather be doing?
Currently I live on the Caribbean Island of Fantomas, except that I’m legally dead… It’s a long story. For the seven years leading up to that the US Army was my home. I flew a Blackhawk Helicopter in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even though people were constantly trying to kill me I loved every second in the air. Despite my rebellious childhood the order and discipline of the military appealed to me.

What's going on in your life right now?
What’s going on in my life… chaos, madness and anarchy.  In the past few weeks I’ve been shot down, kidnapped by private military corporate creeps and somehow wound up on a Caribbean island with a wonderfully insane Voodoo priestess as my new best friend. It’s a beautiful island, with pristine beaches. The only problem is that the dead tend to rise up and try to eat you; that’s not on the travel brochure.

Is there someone special in your life?
Oh boy… uh, yeah there is. His name is Glen and he’s an ex military contractor, well mercenary technically. But he’s not a macho meathead, if that’s what you’re picturing. He’s strong, certainly handsome, but there’s a sadness to him. Even when he’s joking and laughing I can see it hiding in his eyes. I think he’s just seen to much darkness for one lifetime. We connected as soon as we met.

How did you meet? What's his/her family like?
We had the good fortune to be kidnapped and tortured by the same paramilitary creeps until we broke out together. How’s that for a first date? Glen hasn’t talked about his family at all, and given what we’ve been through I don't want to push the issue. One of the things that drew us together is that we both found our real family in the military. I think it’s what brought structure to our lives. But after Glen was wounded the army discharged him, claiming he couldn’t be a combat soldier without a gallbladder, which is just stupid. So I think he felt sort of abandoned and betrayed by the only family he’d ever known. Not that you’d ever hear him complaining. I usually have to pry personal thoughts out of him with a crowbar. Silent, obstinant, prone to melancholy… god I think I love this guy.  Did I mention that all his hair fell out after we were captured because of something called alopecia … I’m talking top to bottom here. He’s like a ken doll. Well he does have certain things a Ken doll lacks.

What's keeping you two apart?
Other than Voodoo curses, rampaging zombies and the occasional military coup? Probably me. I tend to be very guarded with relationships, kind of a no sex till the tenth date and then I unconsciously sabotage the ninth one. Part of it might be dealing with the army, which is still kind of a boy’s club. Some of it may stem from focusing too much on my career. I have other patented excuses if anyone’s interested. Weirdly enough there’s now a Voodoo spirit named Pomba Gira sharing my body and consciousness… another long story. I should make her pay rent. Pomba Gira just happens to be the spirit of love and fertility. Let’s just say she’s a spirit that’s extremely open minded when it comes to sexuality. Talk about the odd couple. Since she arrived a lot of my “issues” seem to be melting away, and I’m not sure if that’s coming from her or me. Either way I’m not complaining.

What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?
Wow, you’re really going to break my balls about this aren’t you! Okay, here we go. Despite all we’ve been through Glen and I have only been intimate once. Not for lack of trying mind you, it’s just that Voodoo curses, zombies and a military coup kind of spoils the moment. But if we could just capture that feeling again, one more time I know we’d never let go.

Any last comments?
You know what really scares me? I mean scares me more than the zombies, demons and day to day pants peeing terror that’s become my life? It’s that I’ve heard relationships formed in times of extreme danger rarely last. But I don't think that’s the case here. Losing Glen is the only thing that really terrifies me.

Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood? First off, I’m glad to have a chance to tell my side of the story. There’s a certain author named William Burke who’s written some libelous rag called Voodoo Child, wherein he has the audacity to blame me for my husband’s death, a few dozen other murders and a zombie uprising. It’s pure nonsense from a talentless hack scribbler. He’s probably some bitter guy I blew off and forgot about. Anyway…

I was born in Mississippi, where we lived in a ratty trailer park in a town that I refuse to acknowledge. Was my childhood happy? Hell no. I was a very pretty child. I’m not being arrogant; it’s just a fact. Early on, my mother decided to enter me in every toddler, pre-teen and teen beauty pageant she could find. I worked hard and usually won, mostly because Mommy’s penalties for losing were pretty severe. Besides the usual posing, singing and baton twirling, Mom also taught me how to sabotage the competition. You know, itching powder in their spangled tights, thumb tacks in their tap shoes. These were valuable life lessons. We had to focus our energy on the pageant circuit so I was home schooled. That is if you consider watching reruns of Jeopardy in a motel room to be schooling.

Anyway, I won everything from Miss Junior Mississippi to Miss Tractor Pull and accumulated quite a lot of prize money along the way. But on my eighteenth birthday I discovered that Mommy dearest had spent all my hard-earned cash. That day I packed a bag, waved goodbye (using only my middle finger) and made my way into the world, penniless. I was totally unqualified for any normal job so I found a niche modeling for auto parts catalogs. Yup, I was that super hot chick in the leopard skin bikini holding up a chrome exhaust manifold … but, damn, I sure was good at it! Anyway, after ten years of success I found myself being pushed aside in favor of younger girls. These talentless eighteen-year-olds didn’t understand what it takes to seductively caress a spread bore four-barrel carburetor—it’s an art form! But they were in and I was out.  So there I was in my (early!) thirties with nothing but a suitcase full of high heels and swimsuits. Fortunately, this weird army general on a Caribbean island called Fantomas had seen my pictures, fallen in love and desperately wanted to marry me. Can you blame him?

Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you'd rather be doing?
I live in the Island Republic of Fantomas. Remember that general? Well, he declared himself Prime Minister for Life (okay, technically Dictator) right before he asked me to marry him. He gave me the most wonderful wedding present imaginable by dropping dead on our honeymoon night. Assuming I had assassinated him, the ignorant citizens of Fantomas declared me a national hero and their new leader. That’s right, I’m now Her Excellency Madame Lavonia Dawes Prime Minister of the Republic of Fantomas. Not bad for a hick from a Mississippi trailer park. Suck on that, Mom!

What's going on in your life right now?
Like many third world nations, Fantomas’ government was riddled with graft, corruption and bribery. But right now I’m working day and night to ensure I get my piece of the action. Once I get my pile of loot together I’m catching a midnight flight to Paris and leaving this tropical cesspool behind. Actually, the beaches here are very nice, but you can keep the rest of it. 

Is there someone special in your life?
Yeah. Me. Actually there is someone or something maybe. He’s a Voodoo spirit named Baron Kriminel. He’s ugly as sin, but has a certain charisma. He’s actually the one who wasted my ex-husband and selected me as his protégé. I’m sure he’s hot for me… I mean look at me; who could resist? He even calls me pet names like his little salope, or his sweet losaz, which must mean something nice.
(Note from William Burke: Both are French words meaning either slut or whore, depending on their specific usage. Wow, Lavonia, that home schooling really paid off.)

How did you meet? What's his/her family like?
He’s Voodoo’s eternal spirit of death and vengeance, so I don’t think he has parents. Anyway, my husband (for two hours) tried to double cross him so the baron induced a heart attack during the consummation of our marriage. After that we just sort of hit it off.

What's keeping you two apart?
For the past few millennia, he had a thing going with Pomba Gira, the Voodoo spirit of love and fertility. She dumped him and he hasn’t really gotten over her yet. Right now they’re having some weird competition to decide the fate of humanity. I think Gira’s possessing the body of an American Army helicopter pilot—some chick named Maggie Child. I haven’t seen her but I can’t imagine she’s any competition for me.

What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?
I think I need to kill Maggie Child, and also this Voodoo priestess named Sarafina who’s been a major thorn in my butt for months. After they’re gone I can seduce Baron Kriminel. I know seducing a god sounds pretty ambitious but have you seen this body? Who could resist?

Any last comments?
William Burke is a two-bit talentless hack and his book (if you could call it that) Voodoo Child is full of lies and malicious rumors about me. I’m just a compassionate young woman valiantly trying to bring her struggling nation into the 21st century. He will be hearing from my lawyers.
The forces of darkness are out to destroy mankind… Too bad they never reckoned on facing Maggie Child!

Army chopper pilot Maggie Child has a reputation for being fearless, professional and, above all, rational. But when she's shot down over Iraq her well-ordered life spirals into a paranormal nightmare. Alone, wounded and surrounded by hostile forces, Maggie is rescued from certain death by a demon straight out of Dante's Inferno. Then, barely alive, she's abducted by a private military corporation conducting insidious medical experiments. Her escape from their covert hellhole lands her on a Caribbean island where an evil voodoo spirit and a psychotic female dictator are conspiring to unleash an apocalyptic zombie plague. Then she uncovers the most terrifying secret of all—her own destiny. It seems a Voodoo oracle has ordained her the only warrior capable of saving humanity from a supernatural Armageddon … whether she wants the job or not!

But saving the world isn't a one-woman job, so she teams up with a trio of unlikely heroes—a conspiracy obsessed marijuana smuggler, a Voodoo priestess with an appetite for reality television, and a burnt out ex-mercenary. Together, they'll take on an army of the walking dead, with the fate of humanity resting in their eccentric hands.

Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising
is the first novel in a new horror series packed with supernatural thrills, rousing adventure, dark humor, Voodoo lore and plenty of zombie stomping action. But a word of warning; don't shoot these zombies in the head … because that just makes them mad!

It's the legions of hell versus Maggie Child … and hell doesn't have a prayer!

Book Trailer:
After two years of ghostwriting, William Burke has released his first novel VOODOO CHILD, Book One: Zombie Uprising. It's the first installment of a new horror series chronicling the exploits of Maggie Child and her Voodoo priestess partner Sarafina as they battle to save the island of Fantomas from the wrath of evil Voodoo spirits.

The author was raised on a diet of late night creature features, comic books, Mad magazines and horror stories. As a result every volume will be packed with eccentric characters, dark humor, chills, zombies, ghosts, monsters, military hardware and plenty of stuff blowing up.

Prior to writing Voodoo Child he was the creator and director of the Destination America television series Hauntings and Horrors. He has also written scripts for two Cinemax television series, Forbidden Science and Lingerie, which he also produced. He has also written magazine pieces for Fangoria and the Phantom of the Movies Videoscope among others.

William began his film and television career as a perfectly respectable video engineer at the venerable United Nations. Budget cuts shifted him to becoming a production manager and assistant director on an array of New York based indie films. With that experience under his belt he relocated to Los Angeles where he eventually produced sixteen feature films and two television series for the Playboy Entertainment Group. After years of producing T&A extravaganzas, kickboxing epics and gangster rap videos, he created a self financed television pilot entitled American Mystery Tour. Canada's CTV picked up the series under the title Creepy Canada, which was then re-titled Hauntings and Horrors in the USA.  Since then he has successfully produced three series for HBO/Cinemax as well as documentaries and other … stuff.

After hundreds of hours of film and television production he is basking in the freedom of the written word, where small budgets and giant egos are only memories. He lives in Toronto.

If you enjoyed the first adventure please visit where you'll find lots of interesting information about Voodoo and military hardware, along with excerpts from Sarafina's personal diary AND, as a gift to readers, the author will be serializing a prequel novella.

Author interview and book trailer video:
Author interview video:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Interview with Pat Esden, Author of Beyond Your Touch, Dark Heart Series, Book Two

She wants more than he can promise.

His desires could lead to betrayal.

But without each other, neither can survive the dangers ahead.

Annie Freemont knows this isn’t the right time to get involved with a man like Chase. After years of distrust, she’s finally drawing close to her estranged family, and he’s an employee on their estate in Maine. Though she never intended to stay on the estate for long, her father’s illness and the mysteries surrounding her family made leaving impossible. And now with the newfound hope of rescuing her long-missing mother, Annie’s determined to be involved with the family’s plans one way or another.

If only she could keep her mind off Chase and focus on the impending rescue. But there’s something about the enigmatic Chase that she can’t resist. And she’s not the only woman. Annie fears a seductive stranger who is key to safely freeing her mother is also obsessed with him. As plans transform into action and time for a treacherous journey into a strange world draws near, every move Annie makes will test the one bond she’s trusted with her secrets, her desires—and her heart.

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PAT ESDEN is an antique-dealing florist by trade. She’s also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

Her new adult paranormal novel, A HOLD ON ME (book #1 in the Dark Heart series) is available from Kensington Books. BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (book #2 Dark Heart series) will be released August 30th.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Interview with Nancy Lee Badger, Author of Spark, Clan of Dragons, Book One

What made you decide to be an author? I was a voracious reader, and brought books along when working the midnight shift at New Hampshire 9-1-1 (not much happens, especially during a late night blizzard). I decided I could write a better story than most of the books I read, so I started doodling on a legal pad, then would race home and re-type them, once my shift ended. I’ve had stories inside my head, and they needed an outlet. Seeing my stories in print was a dream that came true.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?
I love being my own boss. After my two publishers closed their doors, I ramped up my indie-publishing and turned my writing into a business. What I do not like is my solitary writing. Hubby heads to work, and I must get myself in the chair, and write. I joined my local chapter of Romance Writers of America as well as the Triangle Association of Freelancers. Monthly meetings get me out of my cave.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? I volunteer every fall with my family at the New Hampshire Highland Games (check out )  I have been doing this for over 15 years, so in 2009, while working in the information tent, surrounded by kilts, bagpipes, and athletes turning the caber, I thought “I should write about this.” My job as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher, EMT, and volunteer firefighter, filled my head with several other story lines. My Scottish time travel romances and my romantic suspense novels were born.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? My characters scream at me, but the loudest usually start out as ‘secondary characters’. These are men, women, villains, horses, etc. who are a minor part of the story, but become an integral part, or turn up as the lead character in another book. In My Hunted Highlander, my last Scottish time travel novel, a little boy became a focal point, even though I did not plan any of it. My heroine was a pirate, and I wanted to show her softer feminine side. Where other characters screamed, Keegan whispered to me. I love that kid.

You’ve written 16 novels, SMOKE will be released October 7th, and are working on SMOLDER, the 18th novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? I wake up early, and instead of rolling over, I get up and go to work. I’ll check emails quickly, make sure any friends on Facebook who are having a birthday are remembered, then open my manuscript and write. I don’t edit or spell-check as I go. I don’t separate into chapters, either. After the first draft is finished, then I go back and clean it up. You cannot fix an empty page!

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Well, I used to be a panster, writing whatever came into my head. I usually had the beginning and the end in mind, but I find that I cannot write fast enough. I now write a 3-4 page outline, and find that the story flows much faster. It might take a road less traveled at certain points, but what used to take 7-9 months now takes 3-5 months.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Read lots of books, then write the best story you can, making sure you put your heart and soul on the page.

Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? Even though I am a mature woman (i.e. older than most writers) the song that moved me to start writing is Love Story by Taylor Swift. She released the song in 2008, soon after I started writing a romance novel. I found her music video, and play it when I need inspiration. I was so impressed with the romance, setting, and costumes that I have started a series that is fitting for the Regency historical genre. I hope to bring that series out next year.
Nancy Lee Badger brings you another story filled with Scottish dragons and shape-shifters. Set on the Scottish Island of Skye, she again fills her paranormal fantasy with romance and danger, and with characters you will remember. Some will tug at your heart. Others will make you wish for their demise. SPARK is the first book in a brand new series, Clan of Dragons.

What can a young dragon do to prove to his older brothers that he is their clan’s best chance to save their species? In the Black Cuillin Hills, Evan heads to the village of Morhban to find a way to interact with humans. To learn their language and customs, and to get close enough to a red-haired beauty to mate with her, the brown-winged purple dragon shifts into a copper-colored horse. When his new hooves protect her from Lord Toal MacMorgan’s inappropriate demands with a well-placed kick, she thanks Evan by brushing his silky coat. Things are looking up.

When an unfamiliar horse kicks Toal into the creek, releasing Vika from his roaming hands, her appreciation turns to horror. A sputtering Toal demands that the animal die. Anger makes Vika agree to a wager. A three day hunt will determine the fate of the horse she names Spark. Failure will mean his death, and the loss of her freedom. Pirates, wolves, a wild boar, and a handsome stranger lead her on a wild ride. She discovers her heart is in as much danger as her life.

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Evan broke the kiss, and moved away, enough to make Vika’s hands fall away. He walked unsteadily to the bush, and stomped it until he had extinguished the fire. As he cooled his feet in the stream, he took a deep breath. He steeled his features, so as not to show her how bewildering her touch had felt. His chest hurt, which confused him. He wished to save his clan, so he would not allow his expression to show he was at war with himself.

Turning to face her, his shoulders stiffened. She had stopped crying, but her cheeks were damp with tears. Her skin was pale from fright, and she was shaking uncontrollably. His first concern was to let her know she was safe. The second was to keep his distance until he could discuss his new feelings with his brothers.

“Do you believe in dragons now?”

She nodded. “I thank you for saving us from that horrible demon!”

He laughed. “That was no demon. ‘Tis a dragon, one of a few that be said to live among the black rock peaks of the Cuillin Hills. Aye, they be large and dangerous, but when was the last time you heard of someone disappearing from your village? Wolves be much more dangerous.”

“Oh! I forgot about Orin and Spark!”


“Me brother Orin dealt with a wolf, today. Our horse, Spark, killed it by stomping on it.”

Evan grinned, and tightened the cloth around his waist. The air had grown chilly, and blew his hair across his face. Brushing it back, he watched her eyes widen.

“Your hair. ‘Tis the same shade as me horse.”

His laugh echoed through the trees, and he turned away in order to catch his breath.

Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time.

Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Association of Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games surrounded by…kilts!

Amazon Page

Tour giveaway
1 Winner will receive a Scottish Flag Blanket
(brand new, cat not included) as well as Shortbread Scotties,
Purple Jelly beans, a Pirate Pencil, and a Visit Scotland brochure 

*international winner will instead receive ebooks from Nancy's backlist

Giveaway Ends August 21st

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